How does the love of Christ “constrain” us?


by Shawn Brasseaux

When the Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ constraineth us,” he is describing the process by which the Christian life operates. It is not us struggling to keep a series of rules and regulations, performing to get blessings from God (and receiving curses when we fail). It is not our love for Christ, for that is fickle and weak. We are unable to love Jesus Christ 100 percent of the time, with all our being. That is what sin is. According to Scripture, it is Christ’s love for us, that unconditional, permanent, endless love that drove Him all the way to Calvary’s cruel cross to pay for our sins! “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

The Christian life is the intense working of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Him laboring to bring into the reality of our lives the Words of Grace: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

“Constraineth” is a compelling or urging toward a particular course of action. We are tightly bound together, driven to a specific end, the goal of 2 Corinthians 5:14: “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” To “judge” here means to exercise the mind, to evaluate or examine evidence in order to reach a verdict.

Christ died for all (1 Timothy 2:5-6), since all were dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1); but He is “specially [the Saviour] of those that believe” (1 Timothy 4:10); and, if He is the Saviour of Christians, Christians should live in light of that reality, conducting themselves not in accordance with their own selfish desires but for the glory of the God-Man who died for them and resurrected! After all, as He died, so they died to sin; as He rose again, so they arose to walk in newness of life (Romans chapter 6). Here is the grace life, the key to victorious Christian living! Remember, it is the Lord Jesus Christ’s love for us.

Also see:
» Is grace a license to sin?
» What is the Lord’s will for my Christian life?
» Why do some Christians persistently behave like lost people?
» Does “once saved, always saved” entitle us to abuse God’s grace?

» How are we God’s “workmanship?”
» Does God see us Christians as sinners?